The Federal Communications Commission, seeking to accelerate the development and deployment of Next Generation 911 (NG911) technology that will enable the public to send emergency communications to 911 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) via text, photos, videos, and data and enhance the information available to PSAPs and first responders for assessing and responding to emergencies, has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking September 26, 2011. The FCC notes in their rulemaking:
Sending text messages, photos, and video clips has become commonplace for users of mobile devices on 21st century broadband networks, yet our legacy circuit-switched 911 system does not support these forms of communication. While continuing to ensure reliable voice-based 911 service will always be essential as we migrate to NG911, adding these non-voice capabilities to our 911 system will significantly improve emergency response, save lives, and reduce property damage. Incorporating text and other media into the 911 system will make it more accessible to the public, both for people with disabilities and for people in situations where placing a voice call to 911 could be difficult or dangerous.
Comments are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, and Reply Comments are due 90 days after publication in the Federal Register.